How to choose a formula
When considering a cream blush, opt for something highly pigmented and nonsticky. You want a non-greasy formula that’s going to glide on to your cheeks, not just sit on top of 'em. You can tell a lot about a formula by testing it on the back of your hand. The best of the bunch are a cinch to apply because they are sheer, buildable, and non-drying.
How the heck to apply it
It might not be the most sanitary, but I like to dip my middle finger directly into the pan and give it a swirl before patting the blush onto the apples of my cheeks. Then I like to blend upwards towards my hairline. I find that smiling big helps a ton with placement. If you prefer not to use your fingers, a stippling brush works just as well and both methods allow you to apply lightly, building as you go. You can also apply your blush before you apply your foundation — a trick to make it look like it's your natural glow.
How to find your perfect shade
Sure, there are all kinds of rules about finding your ideal shade, but I’m a firm believer of following your instincts. Chances are if you love it in the pan, you’ll love it on your skin. I find apricots, roses, and even fuchsias to be the most universally flattering. Again, the objective here is subtlety, so I promise you won’t look like a clown.
My personal favorites
I’m currently obsessed with Josie Maran’s Argan Crème Blush in Sunset. The coral shade is formulated without parabens or synthetics and the color stays on you all day long. My OG favorite has always been Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Fresh Melon. It gives a natural flush and can be patted on lips for a matching look. As for what's on my wish list, Stila Convertible Color in Sweet Pea takes the cake. I fell in love with it at Fashion Week for its rich pigments, and I’m kind of wanting one in every color!
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Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Fresh Melon, $25, available at Sephora; Josie Maran Argan Crème Blush in Sunset, $22, available at Josie Maran; Stila Convertible Color in Sweet Pea, $25, available at Sephora.